Final report is a 'significant contribution' to managing flood risk

The Environment Agency has warmly welcomed Sir Michael Pitt's comprehensive final review into the 2007 summer floods, describing its as a significant contribution to managing the future flood risk in England and Wales.

Chief Executive Paul Leinster said the Environment Agency had highlighted the need for further clarity on the responsibilities for flooding from surface water drains, infrastructure protection, more publicly available information on flood risk, and additional resources to help adapt to climate change as key issues to be swiftly taken forward.

"Sir Michael's report puts the spotlight back on the need for the country to be prepared and able to respond to the devastating impacts of flooding. He covers a wide range of topics - many directly related to our work - and all of which are essential to better protecting people and the environment from flooding into the future," Leinster said.

"In particular, we're pleased with Sir Michael Pitt's confidence that the Environment Agency is the right organisation to be given a strategic overview role for all types of flood risk in England. We now need the Floods Bill to give us the proper tools and legislation to finish the job. Urgent action is needed now to clarify our role and that of the local authorities, and to explore the new resources that will be needed to do this job."

The Environment Agency highlighted progress over the past 12 months in a number of areas that are a focus in Sir Michael Pitt's report, including flood forecasting, data sharing and reservoir safety legislation.

Leinster said: "It's also important that the real risk of climate change has been acknowledged by Sir Michael Pitt. Recent flood events have highlighted the urgency of adapting to the potential effects of climate change to protect lives, property, the economy and the environment. Now that the Government's Foresight report has been reviewed, and it's clear that we are going to face less predictable weather and more extreme events such as flash flooding, investment in flood risk management should continue to rise to keep up with the changing climate.

"This report is comprehensive and well researched, and overall we're pleased it's raised issues of importance and ways forward, for not only the Environment Agency, but for local authorities, utilities and emergency responders."

He added: "It's also encouraging that the report reinforces the importance of individuals in taking responsibility for protecting themselves and their properties. We can't stop the rain but we can all work together to reduce the impacts of flooding."